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How to Help an Alzheimer’s Patient Communicate

As your loved one’s Alzheimer’s progresses, you may find that communication becomes more challenging as they lose their train of thought or struggle with finding the right words to say. While it is often difficult, emotional and even frustrating to watch an aging loved one struggle with such a simple task, there are ways in which you can help them communicate.

  1. Find the Right Position
    Communication always works best when the Alzheimer’s patient is able to see the person speaking. At Home Care Assistance of Toronto, we always suggest that family caregivers face their loved one. This allows them to use your face and gestures to understand the meaning behind your words. As you do so, limit distractions by turning off televisions and radios that could blend with your voice.
  2. Provide Visual Cues
    Another way to improve communication is to provide visual cues that accompany your message. Point, gesture and show emotion as you speak to your loved one. Also, watch your loved one’s facial expressions and gestures so that you can pick up on the nonverbal cues they use to communicate their needs. Over time, you will begin to recognize certain expressions or gestures that will make it easier to understand what your loved one is trying to say.
  3. Choose Simple Wording
    In the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease, your loved one may have trouble understanding complicated phrases and vocabulary. For this reason, it is best to choose simple words and short sentence structures that are clear and concise. However, it is important to avoid baby talk which can come across as condescending. Remember that your loved one still understands much of what is going on around them. If you are finding that the complex needs of your loved one are becoming difficult to manage, click here for information about premier home care in Toronto for seniors with Alzheimer’s.
  4. Allow for Extra Time
    Showing your loved one respect as they take the time to find the right words will always enhance communication. Take the time to let them gather their thoughts so that they can speak. Try to avoid rushing them by completing their sentences and listen calmly until they are finished so that they will be encouraged to continue trying to communicate. As you work together, you will begin develop a communication style that will help you deepen your understanding and relationship.

Miscommunications can be a major source of frustration, potentially damaging the relationship between the family caregiver and their loved one. If you are starting to become overwhelmed as your loved one’s care needs progress and increase, know that you are not alone. Home Care Assistance offers hourly respite as well as live-in care services, ideal for Alzheimer’s patients who want to remain in the comfort of home as they age. For more information, dial 416-488-8777 and speak with a Care Manager.